Yk rates Super 8
Chain to build 66-room motel

Doug Ashbury
Northern News Services

NNSL (May 27/98) - Construction of a new $3.7 million Yellowknife Super 8 Motel is expected to begin this summer, the vice-president of Royop Hospitality Corp. said Monday.

"If we start in July, we should be open possibly by Christmas or early 1999," Ian McAuley said.

Royop, a Calgary-based, TSE-listed company, owns the rights to franchise Super 8s in Canada. Royop's parent is Cedant, the world's largest hotel franchiser.

McAuley said it has taken about two-and-one-half years to get the project this far.

Royop sells Super 8 franchises as well as builds the hotels for its own account.

The Yellowknife Super 8, to be located beside Tim Horton's, will be built for Royop's own account.

The deal includes a handful of Northern individuals. McAuley preferred not to name them at this time but did say the local Northern partners will be majority owners of Yellowknife Super 8 Motel.

McAuley added that developer Dale Bowler, who has ties to Yellowknife, is directly involved.

Bowler, who now lives in Sherwood Park, Alta., is president of 912938 NWT Ltd. The numbered company owns the land where the Yellowknife Super 8 will be built. Bowler could not be reached Monday.

Northern construction firms will be used to build the hotel which will also include a 50-person meeting room.

Once complete, the hotel will employ 15 to 20 people.

Room rates are expected to be $80 to $85 per night. This compares with Yellowknife's Explorer Hotel and Discovery Inn where the going rates are $142 and $105 respectively (the two sometimes offer lower sale rates).

Super 8 room rates are about $75 at the franchise's Grand Prairie, Alta. motel. Calgary rates run about $68 while in Edmonton it's $58 (Winnipeg $52.88). Rural Canadian Super 8s cost about $50 a night.

Asked why the chain has decided to come to Yellowknife now, McAuley said because "the market has proven itself."

He also said there is a short building window in the North and time has been needed to arrange equity as well as the requisite permits.

Asked generally why hotel chains are not part of the Yellowknife accommodation landscape, McAuley said: "It's very difficult to find land."

And several hotel chains may be reluctant to build in areas where there is a small population.

"We go to places with small populations."

There are 54 Super 8 motels in Canada. Fifteen more will open this year.

There are over 1,600 Super 8s in North America. About 120 new Super 8s were opened last year.